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The Boxmasters

So, my position as staff photographer for Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center recently afforded me a unique opportunity. Billy Bob Thornton and his band, The Boxmasters, were coming for their third visit to Merrimack to play a fundraiser concert for the non-profit, and as staff photographer I would be tasked with shooting the show. Now, the last time a big name group came through town I went out and rented a big lens and got myself all excited only to have them tell us at the last minute that only their photographer could shoot them and no one else - :( Luckily I turned that weekend into a golden opportunity and made my rental money back, but that's another story - see pic in the park 

Having that past experience, when I heard that The Boxmasters were coming, my expectations of shooting them were not high, especially when I found out I could only shoot the first 5 minutes of their set and was denied my request to rent a long lens for the event as I wouldn't be shooting much of it. As the first day went by, however, I found the band and their crew to be very approachable, down to earth, people. Truly nice guys, laid back and genuine. I was suddenly struck with the idea that they may not mind me crouching down center stage to make some use of my mid-range lens and perhaps get one or two good shots. Thankfully, I was able to attain permission from their tour manager, Tom Mayhue, and took my position to shoot the first night.

Rhythm guitarist, J.D. Andrew

Lead guitarist, Brad Davis, opens the show.

Frontman, Billy Bob Thornton

I was really excited to see that they were lighting the band with two spotlights, located on either side of the back of at the theater, giving the band a nice even light on their faces. Using my D700 I was able to bump my ISO up to about 1600 without too much noise, which allowed me to get a relatively fast shutter speed without having to go too low on my aperture. 

After the show I snapped some shots while the guys signed autographs. Again I was fortunate that the room had white ceilings that were low enough for me to bounce my flash off of. I combined a low, rear synced flash with a slow shutter to bring in the ambient light of the room while still lighting their faces. 

Billy signing autographs for fans after the show - FYI, that t-shirt he has his hand on, is super comfortable!

Following the show I quickly chose a shot to post on instagram. I pulled the following image up on the back of my camera  and took a picture of it with my phone to post online. 

Billy and Tom ended up liking the shot so much that I was given permission to shoot the entire show the next evening! Here are some of my favorite shots: 

The boys take a break in their set for a Q and A with the audience.

Keyboard and harmonica player, Teddy Andreadis

Bassist, Dave Fowler and guitarist, J.D. Andrew hamming it up for the camera

The boys greeting fans after their performance

If that wasn't all cool enough, Billy also took time out of his busy schedule to sit in on Merrimack's Creative Writing class for teens with special needs. For these shots I was able to just use natural light and a slightly higher ISO, yay for big windows and sunshine! To achieve the aperture that I needed for the group shot I raised a strobe up close to the white ceiling and bounced the light off of it for an even flood of light on everyone. 

Billy and Merrimack Hall's Creative Writing class for teens with special needs.

A HUGE shout out to The Boxmasters and the amazing team of people that work alongside them! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and look forward to working with everyone again soon. 

There I am, front and center, wearing one of my new K8 Photo t-shirts :)